MONTROSE – A ceremony to honor all those who gave aid and help the night that Montrose Police Sgt. David Kinterknecht was killed by gunfire began with a prayer and ended with a widow’s tears.
At the end of the hour-long Montrose Police Department Medal Awards ceremony, Kathy Kinterknecht maintained composure, but everyone in the room felt her grief as she tearfully accepted the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, awarded to her husband posthumously.
Cmdr. Keith Caddy, who gave the invocation at the beginning of the ceremony, presented the awards to Kinterknecht, who was accompanied to the stage by daughters Amanda and Andrea.
Chief Tom Chinn spoke during the ceremony at the Montrose Pavilion last week and recalled the inherent dangers that every police officer and his or her family must live with.
“I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, when you have to leave your family and go to work, that thought is always there,” he said.
Chinn said when Sgt. Kinterknecht was killed after answering a domestic dispute on July 25, 2009, his death was a shock to the entire community as well as to his family and the police department.
“This incident will always be in our minds,” he said.
Medals of Honor and the Purple Hearts were also awarded to Officers Larry Witte and Rodney Ragsdale, who were both shot in both legs when Kinterknecht was killed.
Cmdr. Gene Lillard, the event’s master of ceremonies, also gave the Medal of Valor to four officers who were at the scene: Sgt. Bernie Chism and Officer Robbie Satterly of the Montrose Police Department, and Montrose Sheriff’s Deputies Matt Taramarcaz and Ben Halsey.
“The officers and deputies were able to assist their wounded brothers by administering first aid and cover to them without regard for their own safety,” Lillard said.
After Kinterknecht was shot by a suspect in a garage, Officer Abby Leiba responded to the scene and began administering CPR on Kinterknecht, Lillard said, for which she was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
The Distinguished Service Cross was also awarded to Officer Josh Pollert, for giving emergency first aid to Witte and Ragsdale.
The Police Merit Citation was also given to more than a dozen people on staff at Montrose Memorial Hospital for their help on that fateful night.
“The doctors, nurses, CNAs and administrative staff of Montrose Memorial Hospital were compassionate, steadfast and professional in the expert treatment of our officers and their families,” Lillard said, as many of the hospital staff formed a line across the stage.
Montrose firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel also received awards for their service that night, including Deputy Chief Tad Rowan, Capt. Steve Ross, Capt. John Cryer, and EMTs Melanie Caton, Perry Reed, Tim Caton, Eluterio McClure, Jerry Sieverson, and Cory Carwin.
Montrose Regional Communications personnel were also recognized for keeping their cool and providing necessary communications between all parties. Sheriff’s Department Communications Officer Cheryl Hill was awarded with the Police Merit Citation and Communications Officers Chuck Long and Trevor Blackman were given an Official Commendation.
Also honored were law enforcement personnel who helped not only on the night of July 25, but in the days and weeks following the tragedy. The Police Merit Citation was awarded to Montrose Police Victim’s Advocate Chantelle Bainbridge, Montrose County Sheriff’s Victim’s Advocate Tawna Caddy, Delta Police Department Victim’s Advocate Becky Havens, and, from the Montrose Police Department: Lt. Blaine Hall, Sgt. Jake Suppes, Sgt. Warren Brown and Sgt. Paul Eller; Detectives Mike Watson, Ted Valerio and Justin Perry; and Officers Trevis Booth and Lenny Abeyta.